It could have been a lot worse for Brandon Ingram. It could have been the first step towards a Chris Bosh future meaning no more basketball. A blood clot in the shoulder is rare. The Lakers were so demoralized by the reason for Ingram’s shoulder pain that no one wanted to talk about it, citing patient privacy. But after a successful surgical procedure to remove the clot- the clot was structurally based and not a symptom of his blood- means all smiles in Lakers land. In practical terms, it means Ingram can most likely return to workouts after a two month regimen on blood thinners. This isn’t Chris Bosh and a ticking time bomb.
Brandon Ingram should be able to participate in basketball activity sometime during the Western Conference Finals. At that point, the Lakers will be analyzing the draft for their lottery pick (most likely 10th) and figuring out who to go after in free agency to pair with LeBron James if the Pelicans do go through with their threat to not deal Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Will it be Jimmy Butler? Kemba Walker? Kyrie Irving?
It’s not Brandon Ingram’s worry what the front office does. Ingram has to get back into basketball shape. He still has to prove to the doubters that his body can hold up to the NBA grind. He hasn’t played 60 games in two seasons.
Brandon Ingram fans are ecstatic about the recent developments after so much grim news. But Brandon Ingram returning to form also means Brandon Ingram can be traded. The Lakers can package Ingram and their lottery pick plus another player for Anthony Davis, or for someone else for that matter. Ingram is the piece that makes any kind of deal worthwhile. His talent is prodigious. Where he hasn’t excelled is packaging his talent with results. He’s shined in moments. He wasn’t exactly dominant playing with LeBron James. Is he someone you trust?
The Lakers have a decision to make as well, now that the news about Brandon Ingram isn’t dire. If he is not traded, he’s due an extension offer before the 2019-20 season. How much should it be? The max?
Has Ingram proven he is worth the max just because for an 11 game span he seemed to turn a corner? Do the Lakers want Ingram to be a restricted free agent and then they’ll match any offer they receive? If that is the case why not just give him the max in October? Or, do they want Ingram to prove he is worth the max with his 2019-20 season?
All of this coincides with who the Lakers can talk into being LeBron James running mate and how much they will have to pay him. That factors into Ingram’s price too just because the Lakers have so many holes on the roster. They need a rim protector, a shooting guard, and they have to decide where Lonzo Ball fits in, not to mention the new coach, once they fire Luke Walton, has to teach his system.
Remember when Magic Johnson was supposed to make things better? He hasn’t. But the Lakers still have talent, Brandon Ingram still has a future in the league, LeBron can redeem himself, and this is Hollywood afterall. The impossible happens here.